Stillman v. Clermont York Associates LLC
Clermont York/80th Street Class Action
Index No. 603557/09E

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

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  • Notice was mailed to individuals identified as tenants who may have signed a lease and rented a unit at The Clermont York (445 East 80th Street, New York, New York) at any time on or after July 1, 2006 up through and including October 31, 2015. The Court sent this Notice because these individuals have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about their options, before the Court decides whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves it, and after objections and appeals are resolved, an administrator appointed by the Court will make the payments that the Settlement allows.

    The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, Class Members’ legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them. The Court in charge of the case is the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, and the case is known as Stillman v. Clermont York Associates LLC, Index No. 603557/09E. The person who sued is called the Plaintiff, and the company they sued, The Clermont York, is called the Defendant.

  • The Plaintiff, Carol Stillman, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, brought claims by a complaint as a putative class action challenging the deregulation from rent stabilization of apartments at The Clermont York (the “Building”). The complaint alleges that certain apartment units had been impermissibly deregulated pursuant to the “high rent/vacancy” and “high rent/high income,” or so-called “luxury decontrol,” provisions of the RSL and RSC while the Building was participating in the J-51 Program.

    The Defendant denies any and all liability or wrongdoing with respect to the claims alleged in the lawsuit, but desires to settle the case because a settlement will avoid the risk, expense and distraction of continued litigation.

  • In a class action, one or more people, called Class Representatives (in this case, Carol Stillman), sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All these people are a Class or Class Members. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who excluded themselves from the Class.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or Defendants. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. That way, they avoid the cost of a trial, and the people affected will get compensation if they submit a claim. The Class Representative and the attorneys think the Settlement is best for everyone involved.

  • The Court has decided that for settlement purposes, Class Members are defined as “all persons who are or were residential tenants at The Clermont York [445 East 80th Street, New York, New York] and were charged, and/or continue to be charged, market rate rents during the period in which Defendant was participating in the J-51 tax benefit program” for the Class Period, from July 1, 2006 through and including October 31, 2015.

  • Excluded from the Class is the Defendant, its officers and directors, any entity in which Defendant had or has a controlling interest, and the affiliates, representatives, heirs, controlling persons, successors, and predecessors in interest or assigns of any such excluded parties.

  • If you are still not sure if you are included in the Class, you may speak with a settlement specialist by calling the Claims Administrator toll-free at 1-844-620-9985.

  • The Clermont York has agreed to pay a total of one million two hundred thousand dollars ($1,200,000) (the “Cash Component”) to be divided into two pools as follows:

    1. Former Tenants Pool – Defendant will pay or cause to be paid a total of $559,764.06 into the Former Tenants Pool.  The Former Tenants Pool will be used to make distributions to all Class Members who no longer reside at the Building but did so at any time during the Class Period.
    2. Current Tenants Pool – Defendant will pay or cause to be paid a total of $640,235.94 into the Current Tenants Pool.  The Current Tenants Pool will be used to make distributions to all Class Members who currently reside at the Building as of January 17, 2017.

    Lead Counsel applied to the Court, unopposed by Defendant, for a fee award of up to 30% of the Cash Component ($360,000), plus out-of-pocket expenses (the “Attorneys’ Fee Award and Expenses”) to be paid proportionately from the two Cash Component Pools.

    Plaintiff applied, unopposed by Defendant, to the Court for approval of an Incentive Award for the Class Representative in the amount up to $25,000 (the “Incentive Award”) to be paid proportionately from the two Cash Component Pools.

    In exchange for the cash settlement, Plaintiff and each Class Member who has not validly and timely requested exclusion from the Settlement shall be deemed to have fully, finally, and forever released any and all claims against the Defendant relating to the nature of the lawsuit.

  • Each Settlement Class Member who filed a valid Claim Form will receive a payment based on the alleged overcharge of rents for the Units calculated as the difference between the rent that would have been charged had the Units been subject to rent stabilization and the rent actually charged for the Units. If a Class Member leased more than one Unit during the class period, all of the Term Amounts will be combined into one amount.

  • To qualify for a payment from the Settlement, you have must have completed the Claim Form and mailed it to the Claims Administrator in the self-addressed, stamped return envelope you received along with the notice and the Claim Form, postmarked on or before June 20, 2017.  The deadline to file a Claim Form has passed.

    Every co-tenant who signed your lease or leases for any apartment that is subject to the Settlement must have signed and submitted a separate Claim Form.

  • The Court held a hearing on June 30, 2017, and granted Final Approval of the Settlement. Benefit payments will be mailed out in a timely manner, provided there are no appeals to the Court’s decision. Please be patient.

  • Unless you excluded yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against The Clermont York that pertains to the same legal issues in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. By signing the Claim Form, you will agree to a “Release of Claims,” which describes exactly the legal claims that you give up in order to get payment from the Settlement.

  • If you do not want a payment and do not want to be legally bound by the terms of the Settlement, you must exclude yourself by returning the Opt-Out Form that was mailed with the Notice in the self-addressed, stamped envelope also included with the Notice and must be postmarked no later than April 30, 2017. This deadline has expired.

  • A Class Member may only opt out of the Class for all potential damage claims. All class members are bound, and may not opt out of the declaratory judgment aspects of the Settlement, including without limitation, determination of Legal Rents, J-51 expiration and all lease issues. Whether you choose to fully participate in the Settlement and claim damages, or opt out and sue independently for money damages, you may not bring a lawsuit against Defendant regarding the settled injunctive claims such as the Legal Rent, J-51 expiration, presence of the J-51 Rider or all lease issues as described in the Settlement Agreement.

    Current Tenants who opt out of their damage claims will lose the other benefits of the Settlement, including the preferential rents. Current Tenants who opt out will instead be charged the legal rent.

  • If one co-tenant of a Unit chose to opt out of the Class, all co-tenants of that Unit, including those co-tenants who timely submitted a Claim Form, shall likewise be deemed to be opt-outs for each Lease Term for which they were co-tenants. Opt-Outs will not receive any payment from the Settlement and cannot object to the Settlement; however, opt-outs will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself, you give up the right to sue The Clermont York for the same claims that this settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that lawsuit immediately. You must have excluded yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit.

  • No. If you excluded yourself from the Settlement, you will no longer be entitled to payment. Do not send in a Claim Form if you also excluded yourself.

  • The Court has appointed the law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP to represent you and other members of the Class. Together, the lawyers are called Class Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • The Court approved Class Counsel's request for the Court to award attorneys’ fees of 30% of the Cash Component ($360,000), plus out-of-pocket expenses to be paid proportionately from the two Cash Component Pools.  There is no cost to any individual class member.

    The attorneys’ fees and expenses will be the only payment to Lead Counsel for their efforts in achieving this settlement and for their risk in undertaking this representation on a wholly contingent basis. To date, Lead Counsel have not been paid for their services in conducting this litigation on behalf of the Lead Plaintiffs and the Class, nor for their substantial expenses.

  • The deadline to object to the Settlement has expired.

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you did not exclude yourself from the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class or the lawsuit. If you excluded yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

  • The Court held the Fairness Hearing on June 30, 2017, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County. At this hearing, the Court considered whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. After the hearing, the Court granted Final Approval of the Settlement.

  • No. Class Counsel will answer questions the Judge may have. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you submit an objection, you do not have to come to the Court to talk about it. As long as you delivered your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.

  • The deadline to file a notice of intention to appear has expired. The following information is provided as a reference.

    You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that it is your intention to appear in Stillman v. Clermont York Associates LLC, Index No. 603557/09E. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. Your notice of intention to appear must be sent to the Court and Counsel at the addresses listed above by May 17, 2017. You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself from the Class.

  • The Notice summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the full version of the Stipulation of Settlement and Final Approval Order. You can obtain a copy of the Stipulation from the Claims Administrator by calling toll-free 1-844-620-9985 or by going to the Important Documents page.

  • If you would like more information about the Settlement, you can call the Claims Administrator toll-free at 1-844-620-9985 or by going to the Important Documents page.

For More Information

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Mail:

Clermont York/80th Street Class Action
c/o JND Class Action Administration
P.O. Box 6878
Broomfield, CO 80021